(Un-named): SSCS 1 Oct 2003

The mother had challenged payments required of her by way of child support. The Secretary of State now appealed.
Held: The appeal was rejected: ‘a gay relationship can be a family for the purpose of [A]rticle 8’. There was no reason, in the context of child support legislation, to distinguish between families according to the sexual orientation of the partners. The purpose of the regulations was to determine the financial obligation of the absent parent, a matter on which his or her sexual orientation should have no bearing. Accordingly, the applicant’s situation was within the ambit of the right to respect for family life. The court rejected, however, the applicant’s argument that the situation also came within the ambit of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. As to Article 14, the Commissioner found that, in the context of child support payments, the applicant’s situation was analogous to that of an absent parent living with a heterosexual partner, who, all other things being equal, would have been required to pay around GBP 14 per week instead of almost GBP 47. The Government had not advanced any justification for treating the applicant differently and therefore the child support scheme violated the applicant’s Convention right under Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 8. Concerning the remedy, the Commissioner disagreed with the approach of the Appeals Tribunal. Instead, since the regulations defined the various terms used by the regulations ‘unless the context otherwise requires’, he considered that, with the entry into force of the Human Rights Act on 2 October 2000, the ‘context’ now included the absent parent’s Convention rights. Therefore, the definition of an unmarried couple (‘a man and a woman who are not married to each other but are living together as husband and wife’) did not apply in this situation.
[2003] UKSSCSC CCS – 1153 – 2003
European Convention on Human Rights, Child Support (Maintenance Assessments and Special Cases) Regulations 1992 1(2)
Cited by:
Appeal fromSecretary of State for Work and Pensions v M CA 15-Oct-2004
M had challenged the Child Support Regulations saying that they discriminated against her. She was the liable parent, and in a monogomoud lesbian relationship. As such she said that she was treated worse than she would have been since the . .
At CommissionerJM v United Kingdom ECHR 21-Nov-2008
. .
At CommissionerJM v United Kingdom ECHR 28-Sep-2010
The applicant alleged that she had been the victim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the assessment by the authorities of her financial liability under the regulations on child support. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 13 January 2021; Ref: scu.197368